This was our second Goolwa visit, and once again we stayed at the Hindmarsh Island caravan park. Sure it’s a few kilometres from the action, but is very close to a “non pressure” launching beach, and is quiet and rustic - I don’t mean it has bush showers and long drop toilets – just quiet. We stayed 3 nights there before heading off to Nelson on the way home, and just took it easy.

Yes, we walked across the bridge, looked at the boats and displays, bought souvenirs, chatted to our fellow members, and had a relaxing time.

Did I say fellow members? What a list! There was a much greater turnout at Goolwa than we expect at an event at home! Maybe we should only arrange outings to places at least 800 kilometres from Melbourne! Now, I didn’t get to speak to everybody, but I believe that apart from Margaret and myself, we had Jim Stockton, Penny Braybrook, Chris Kelly, Andrew Cohen, Andrew and Hahn Campbell, David and Brenda Ayers, Alex Pigdon and family, Roderick Smith and friend Steve, David Stott .. and maybe more that I have forgotten (brain getting older!).

Meeting up with people seems to involve such a lot of eating! After a day of boat inspections, we all adjourned to the local for a meal together before watching the fireworks display on Goolwa’s version of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and the next morning we were at it again, breakfasting at the Armfield Slipway where eggs, bacon, and a cuppa, were provided by the SAWBA amongst a collection of boats and unusual festival exhibits.

What a nice bunch they are, and it was good to meet and chat. I had been equally impressed the day before at their interesting and well attended tent on the quayside.
I was also taken with the Armfield Slipway men’s shed operation, where the local oldies amuse themselves with tasks ranging from making simple kits and models to sell/give to youngsters, to restoring old wooden boats. The restoration currently underway of a derelict 16’ clinker putt-putt involves the use of the original keel and one (yes, one) original frame, to restore its former glory in a new format as a carvel planked hull. It will look good, boys – wish I lived close by so that I could join your group!

Before we attended the final barbeque at the Chris/Andrew/Penny/Jim dwelling on Saturday night, we needed (of course) to observe the Grand Parade. I persuaded Margaret that as we couldn’t be in the parade, the right thing to do would be to motor across and observe from the water in our little boat, “Slithy Tove”. A good trip across the sea and down the mainland shore was made so that we could check out the moored craft of all sorts and sizes, and made interesting by the brisk breeze and choppy water.

I did comment that when the captain was getting wet, things were a bit unreasonable, but the conditions ignored me completely and kept dampening my gear. Of course, Margaret suggested that I was uncomfortable, but I reassured her with a comforting untruth. As we approached the Hindmarsh bridge, I observed a conveniently placed boat ramp alongside the island end of the bridge and skilfully (of course) steered to it, explaining to my crew that we would run up the ramp and watch the Grand Parade from the Bridge’s shelter.

It was a good plan, but there turned out to be a few large rocks spread across the ramp which my handy “rock detector” (“the boat”) successfully identified by crushing a plank on the port side, and commenced the next phase, known as “sinking”! This was inconvenient. Making it ashore ok, we needed to get back to our car which was several kilometres away so that we could rooftop Slithy Tove back to camp. Knowing that our colleagues wouldn’t mind missing the Grand Parade for a bit of excitement, I rang Jim with a mayday call, and waited.

You know, it’s hard for me to sit still and waste time (unless of course something important needs to be done), so I decided to photograph the offending rocks and then remove them in the public’s interest. This I did.

Do you know how slippery boat ramps can be? I found that the culprits who had placed rocks on the ramp had also lubricated it to trap anyone attempting to rectify their sabotage. I got wet! My phone drowned! I didn’t take any more photos! Darn!!!

Did we get rescued? Yes, and thank you Chris, Andrew, Jim and Penny for your help and sensitive and caring concern in making sure I was put into dry and warm clothing. Much appreciated.

Did the phone recover after a few days in rice? YES!

Did the boat recover? That’s covered in another episode when we talk about the Nelson/Glenelg trip in the next Shavings.